Community Management Is, In Fact, Not That Hard…

…for a professional. And furthermore, an MMO professional doesn’t go off his feed just because someone says something rude to him. Come on, you knew there was a catch.

Community work is customer service, PR, marketing, and communication. A community manager’s customers are both the developers and the actual paying customers, not one or the other. Anyone who says the job is mere PR or marketing is missing the damn point. Without the secret ingredient of, you know, personally caring about your customers, you belong in sales or marketing. And speaking as a player of these little games, if you don’t care about your customers, you’re wasting your time and mine in community.


The money is better in marketing, anyway. Way better. Oh, my god, better. No one stays in community for the money.

The armchair quarterbacks (talking about how people should be rotated out of the CM position because it’s HARD to take abuse) amuse me. Yes. It’s hard. So is anything worth doing. There are also many, many joys to be had. It’s not all eating bees or being sexually molested by jellyfish. You can whine about how MEAN the players are and how the developers NEVER listen to you, but you’re not going to last six years in the job if all you feel is hate.

I could watch some forum turd call me a three bagger all day, because… um, it’s a moron on a forum. Who cares? If you do care, if your ego is wrapped up in the drama, you are in the wrong job. It’s that simple. I got my thrills helping out customers that were failed by the system, or writing letters for Eagle Scouts, or giving tours, or designing feedback systems, or doing custom projects for devs, or drinking partying on press day with people with whom I matured to what we’ve agreed to call adulthood. The job is so much bigger than message boards. Why ruin your day over such a small aspect of your work?

I realize that at some game companies, “community” consists entirely of board wrangling. However, when they call that “community,” they are what I like to call “full of moose diarrhea.” Don’t confuse a minimum wage board monkey marking time until he gets on the design team with a professional community manager.

Yeah, there was stuff that infuriated me. Daily. But in six years, the fury had to do with people whose monthly fee paid my wages… twice? Oh, yeah, call me names while you enable me to stay employed. Hurt me like that, baby.

No one likes being called fat, or ugly, or stupid, or accused of lying when you’re posting truth. Heaven knows I felt briefly stung more than once, usually on the bits of me that still sting from my formative years. If you are a nerd, you are sensitive in the same spots. Since you are unlikely to be in the game industry at all unless you were some kind of nerd in the seventh grade, this could present a challenge should you seek a job wrangling community. I have some advice, speaking from long experience: Get. Over. Yourself. Junior high was a long damn time ago. Acknowledge that you will always be sensitive about certain things, and compensate accordingly. It’s that easy if you choose to make it that easy. Also, emo? Was never cool. Trust me.

Have a little perspective, here. Read a few research studies on how people behave in crowds. Then read some about how people behave when they are anonymous. Then go to a few real life gatherings and meet the guy who said he was going to kick you in the crotch and offend an orifice with his Malice Axe.

He’s probably the one whose acne is gaining sentience, the one who can’t make eye contact with a female because the last time he got close to a vagina was the day he was born, the one the other nerds won’t talk to because he reminds everyone that nerd status can always get worse. The finest revenge you can have on that guy is to make him realize that you were the one who would have been his friend in high school… and he would have blown his chance by being such an asshole, if it weren’t for the fact that you’re cool enough to like him anyway. If you can convince him that he is forgiven for being a moron, he’ll become your defender to the other crotch kickers for the rest of his gaming career.

(There are exceptions. Oh, not to the “win him over” stuff, that’s a given – I mean exceptions to the Uber-Nerd description. Every so often an orifice offender turns out to be good looking and popular. I remember one guy like that – total ass on the board, totally smokin’ in person. He did not, in fact, kick me in the crotch. He waited until no one else was around for a few minutes, and muttered, “You’re actually pretty cool, you know?” For the rest of the evening, he was utterly charming, and for several years after we met in person, he posted in my defense.)

The secret to making friends out of board warriors, and lasting for more than eight months on the front line, is sincerity. If you can fake sincerity, you belong on the publishing side of the business. You can’t fake it as a community manager. You have to like the people you’re dealing with or you’ll burn out. You have to BE one of the people you’re supporting or you’ll burn out. (And you need support from the company that employs you or you’ll burn out publicly, but that’s another rant.) I never went to a player or press gathering where I didn’t feel like I’d come home. If you don’t feel that buzz? If you don’t see your friends in the people who traveled miles just to talk to you? Get out. You don’t have what it takes.

The only real difference between me and the craziest person at a fan gathering is that I honestly do not give two beans whether or not my sword is plus three to strength or plus four to dexterity. My developers appreciated that, since they needed a break from the screaming. But I knew my players gave an entire Mexican restaurant about it, and I cared about THEM. Therefore, I cared in terms of putting the most accurate information out there. And since I hadn’t been a complete psychopath to the developers on the topic, they tried to give me the best information they had.

Are you seeing the pattern yet? If you genuinely care about your customers, both developer and player, you will make the right decisions, none of which involve going postal in public.

There are some people who absolutely cannot be won over with facts, information, or reality. Both developer and player. So? The assholes are the tiniest, most miniscule minority in the pile. They are fun to write and cuss about, and they make for the most entertaining rants. But even early rants from people in their first gaming jobs acknowledge basic truth in their subtexts, i.e. that real frustration has to do with issues of support and control.

The real frustrations for a real community person will never have to do with the players.

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107 Comments

  1. mystery said,

    May 22, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    OMG TWEETY!

  2. SavageX said,

    May 22, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    WHOO HOO WELCOME BACK!

  3. SavageX said,

    May 22, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    (and well said!)

  4. topfer said,

    May 22, 2007 at 4:04 pm

    Zomg. Yey! Let it out!

  5. Dick said,

    May 22, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    *bow*

    Well hello there, welcome back, this’ll be fun. Nicely put. 🙂

  6. Earen said,

    May 22, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    Good to hear the old voice again!

  7. Octopaganini said,

    May 22, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    WB Tweety, we kicked the rust off an old #10 can of Whup-Ass left behind on the L:TM site for you to crack open!

  8. xaldin said,

    May 22, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    So the circle is complete.

  9. Servitor said,

    May 22, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    Hooray!

  10. Mike said,

    May 22, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    It’s prettier than lum’s.

    The blog.

  11. Scott said,

    May 22, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    I remember you when you were all yellow-on-black text… if it was yellow on black.. In any case, welcome aboard! Looking forward to whatever your next project may be

  12. Aufero said,

    May 22, 2007 at 6:07 pm

    Sanya posted it, now I believe it.

  13. Kevin J. said,

    May 22, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    Sanya for head CM of the inevitable Starcraft MMO, sez I.

  14. Mist (Stara) said,

    May 22, 2007 at 6:35 pm

    Welcome back. 😛

  15. J. said,

    May 22, 2007 at 7:07 pm

    Your site is way more interesting looking than Lum’s.

  16. May 22, 2007 at 8:01 pm

    Sincerity is the mana of the Community Manager. You damn well better not run out of it, though, and you damn well better have the skills and stats necessary to be the Community Manager class or you will go all Tseric on your community.

    I personally felt that the way we used the Community Relations Manager position on EverQuest II was perfect–I was a lead on the development team who acted as one of the mediators between devs, players, and PR/marketing/web.

    Some companies make the “Community Manager” position “Forum Moderator.” That’s, of course, dumb. Others don’t integrate the position into the “team,” which I also feel is dumb. At the very least, the Community Manager needs to be one of the most informed people about the game they are working on; information is one of the CM’s greatest assets.

  17. Garthilk said,

    May 22, 2007 at 8:16 pm

    Well,

    I was waiting for this blog to pop up and now it’s here. I look forward to see what you put forth, in terms of both ideas and rants. I can’t say I’ve always agreed with some of the things you’ve done, nor were corralled into doing, but you’ve manage to survive in a difficult position longer than anyone else I know.

    Sincerity might be a requisite for the job, but so is good communication skills. The ability to specific illicit a specific response based on pure information. That and well experience. Anyway, I’m glad you’re here.

    Guess what, whatever game community position you manage to jockey next. I’m building a fan site just to harass you.

  18. Will said,

    May 22, 2007 at 8:25 pm

    Yaay! Tweety’s back. But now with years of experience to share. I can only imagine the nutless assmuncher comments she’ll grace us with. *Grin* Welcome back Tweety!

  19. Apache said,

    May 22, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    Depending on what company you work for, a lot of community managers are hampered by public relations and marketing monkeys. Most last less than a year before either moving onto a different job within the company, or ending up in an asylum.

    And as far as the uber-nerd theory goes, in general; ugly types usually have better personalities than the beautiful people. Just my opinion, of course.

  20. Sutro said,

    May 22, 2007 at 9:11 pm

    Mmmm, yes and no.

    Obviously the WOW mod lost his mind and accordingly his job. But I *do* think it’s well within the purview of a CM to give a good lashing to people who dip to personal attacks and don’t keep it professional.

    In CS work, whenever you start getting personal attacks, you just cordially say “I appreciate your input,” and hang up the phone. You don’t have that option as a CM; the phone’s always off the hook and you can’t hang it up.

    Yeah, it’s part of the job, but there is a line in the sand where the amount of abuse you are willing to take sets a standard for the board. The CM needs to set close bounds of thinkable thought, so to speak, on a message board or any communication.

    I really think the optimum setup is a pseudo “beta board” where only people who specifically apply and/or have been invited – maybe culled from /bug reports – can have access. The proles get the Vault and locked red name threads. I quite frankly think that any community as open as a MMO isn’t really a community at all – you have to forge your own subcommunity to get useful thought.

    -Sutro

  21. Scott Hartsman said,

    May 22, 2007 at 9:16 pm

    “You have to BE one of the people you’re supporting or you’ll burn out.”

    Fantastic advice, Sanya. I’d say it extends well past community. It holds true for everyone who touches an MMO.

    Glad to see you decided to start a blog. Best of luck with it.

  22. Protest said,

    May 22, 2007 at 9:36 pm

    Great to see you’ve started a blog. As a (masochistic) communications student, considering a future in CM, I am looking forward to reading both your insights and your rants. Keep up the good work. I’ll be taking notes!

  23. Cindy Bowens said,

    May 22, 2007 at 9:36 pm

    Ah, Tweety!

    Quick, while we are both unattached to a company, maybe we finally have time for that beer we always promised to grab!!

    You said a lot if what I have been saying for years. When I first started back in the early EQ days, I was transferred 5 times in 2 years! I was handling Fan Faires, moderating the message board and developing relationships with fan sites. So no one knew which department I should be in! I bounced back and forth from the dev team to marketing to the web team!

    I think we still have a long way to go to before a lot of companies understand the importance of community management. As you and Ryan said, it’s more than marketing/PR and it’s more than being a message board moderator. It’s about being the conduit of communication between the players and the company.

    Glad to see you back, girl. Get in touch with me! We have to catch up and I don’t have your new contact info! 🙂

    Cindy Bowens
    Seashadow Consulting

  24. Freakazoid said,

    May 22, 2007 at 9:36 pm

    I don’t doubt your advice worked for you, but I think the number of assholes involved might be a factor. You only ever had to deal with, what, maybe some thousands of assholes over the course of a few years? WoW’s assholes probably well exceeds DAoC’s peak subscribers.

    With that many assholes, things might be a little tough to just ignore.

  25. Nick McLaren said,

    May 22, 2007 at 9:52 pm

    I am so glad you’re back! Great post! 🙂

  26. May 22, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    […] WoW forums during unexpected downtime. Holy crap. I mean, really. It’s enough to make you go eat bees or something. Some of the posts are just […]

  27. Grimwell said,

    May 22, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    w00t!!! Very happy to see you back in action Sanya! More posts!

    Freakazoid: The number of assholes is irrelevant. You can either take what they dish (not letting it get to you, no ego, etc.) or you can’t.

  28. May 22, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    […] Sanya’s back, and has many a comment on the art of eating bees. […]

  29. malderi said,

    May 22, 2007 at 11:30 pm

    Your “about Sanya” page seems to indicate you’ve gotten into the “CM Consulting” business. Keep up posts like this for free and you won’t have a business. Eagerly awaiting more!

  30. Rithic said,

    May 22, 2007 at 11:33 pm

    Played Daoc for a long time before moving on.
    Before having played UO and then EQ it was a great change to feel that people at Mythic actually listened to their players. It was a whole new thing back then.

    Thank you for the great job you did at Daoc.

  31. Nicademus said,

    May 22, 2007 at 11:35 pm

    Please I spent most of my career in customer service. If a blog was all it took to teach people to not be pricks but still don’t be push overs who over promise or give away the store then there wouldn’t be so many horror stories.

    Be nice, be firm, be polite in the face of rage, don’t over promise to get out of an uncomfortable situation. Just be fucking professional. It’s not that hard, or shouldn’t be at least.

  32. Freakazoid said,

    May 23, 2007 at 12:21 am

    “The number of assholes is irrelevant. You can either take what they dish (not letting it get to you, no ego, etc.) or you can’t.”

    You’re fooling yourself if you think you’re completely invincible to insults and threats.

    The more angry people there are, the more likely over time someone will find just the right words/actions to set you off, and a higher likelyhood of finding such hateful messages outside gaming.

  33. Servitor said,

    May 23, 2007 at 12:40 am

    I don’t think anyone claimed to be completely invincible. Eventually someone *will* say something that gets to you, and of course with a bigger playerbase the odds of that happening are greater. It’s what you DO when it gets to you that people are talking about.

  34. JoeW said,

    May 23, 2007 at 12:51 am

    Wow. Even though most of you have no idea who I am, it’s like a family reunion in here to an old lurker…

    Welcome back Sanya.

  35. Kyan said,

    May 23, 2007 at 1:03 am

    “Oh, yeah, call me names while you enable me to stay employed. Hurt me like that, baby.”

    That’s the thing with bees. They, you know, make honey. Mmm sweet honey.

  36. May 23, 2007 at 1:13 am

    […] Well, something really really good came out of it, Tweety’s back. Now go find a dildo and and fuck your own ear […]

  37. Amy S said,

    May 23, 2007 at 1:22 am

    My frustration, towards the end – before I ran from Community Relations back into warm fuzzy development – was that I had no credibility left with which to bargain. How many times had things I’d said turned out to not be true? Over, and over, and over… but what was I supposed to do, considering I was telling the players what the dev team told me? Not that the UO dev team was incompetent, because they weren’t. But the combination of marketing promising things that weren’t possible, executives not wanting anything said that could be construed as negative about the game, number crunchers forcing the producers to promise deadlines we couldn’t meet, and the fact that mistakes DO happen in coding from time to time… and you had a constant slew of promises and updates coming from OCR that again, and again, and again, turned out to be crap. Crap spewed by Cynthe specifically, which meant Cynthe was the clueless one, or worse, the liar.

    Maybe I was too sensitive. I did my best to tune out the screamers and serve the core community that loved the game and the community for what it was, rather than for the fun of drawing blood from the OCR rep. But even they ended up disillusioned, because what I said rarely ended up true, and despite arguing against certain programs wholeheartedly in meetings (such as the advanced character sales), I ended up later promoting them on the boards while biting my tongue till it bled.

    I don’t think I told you this, but you were my OCR hero from the moment you hit the Camelot Herald. I played a lot more DAOC at the time than I did UO, probably because DAOC wasn’t the source of the strings of hate thrown my way on a daily basis. I envied the freedom you had to use slang and conversational tones in your posts without executives complaining you didn’t sound professional enough. I envied your freedom to say “we screwed up.” I envied the fact that what you posted often ended up actually happening.

    OCR is hard unless you’re good at it, and in my opinion, the two best were you and Calandryll.

  38. Cuppycake said,

    May 23, 2007 at 1:34 am

    Great advice Sanya! As someone who is interested in going into community management, I agree with everything you have said. I’m excited that you’re blogging and look forward to what you have to say. =)

  39. Wanderer said,

    May 23, 2007 at 1:39 am

    Tweety!!!

    Speaking both as a gamer, and as someone who has done a CM-like job in a very small and obscure game, there’s a point I’d like to add:

    You don’t just need sincerity. You also need credibility. If the players realize that you (like the WoW CM’s, for example) are not actually given any worthwhile information by the devs, nor do the devs listen to or act on anything you take to them — in short, when they realize you’re just a human-shaped pacifier to keep the “forum monkeys” quiet — you’ve lost. Nothing you say, no matter how you say it, can make a difference. When it’s clear that the company has only contempt for its own customers, the customers return that attitude with interest to the most visible and accessible part of the company: you.

    That’s why I’m not sending my resume to Blizzard, and why I wouldn’t take Tseric’s old job if they hunted me down and gave it tome. They don’t let their CM’s have that essential credibility. They seem to treat them as some kind of expendable wear surface, kind of a human skid plate. Their job isn’t to explain the devs’ point of view to the customers, nor to explain the customers’ concerns to the devs. It is solely to make it possible for the rest of the company to ignore the fact that such untidy things as customers exist at all.

  40. SirFodder said,

    May 23, 2007 at 2:02 am

    Nice post, I agree on all points. I tried to write a response to a thread on the topic but could only come up with a couple weak lines about mental perspective and emotional maturity (bad behaviour is always due to some reason or other, understanding this can engender compassion, yadda yadda). I don’t do game CM but my background in working with people with psychotic disorders, doing brief therapy, mobile acute crisis work, and occasionally convincing someone to put down a knife/gun seems to have some parallels :).

  41. Requiel said,

    May 23, 2007 at 4:16 am

    I do what you do/did/havedone/will once have been doing or whatever. I’ve been at it three years and I’m still trying to figure out how you get over the abuse. Not the personal abuse, that’s just juvenile dribbling from people without the emotional stability to take part in an actual discussion but the more general ‘Your company sucks’ stuff. I care about the games I support, I care about the company I represent and I care about the players who make up my community. It seems to me that caring what they post is pretty integral to doing my job and if I allow myself to become blasé about whine or criticism then perhaps I don’t care enough to be a good CM.

  42. Knurd said,

    May 23, 2007 at 4:50 am

    “The job is so much bigger than message boards. Why ruin your day over such a small aspect of your work?”
    If your true intent is community, then the boards [i]are[/i] the biggest part of your work. When your boards run like a hundred tap-water faucets, you want to feel like you listen to everybody. And, to be sure, they [i]expect[/i] you to be caring as much as they do. You want to make sure your care cup is full, at all times. You’re bailing water from the “sinking ship” that is your work and passion. The game that everyone loves playing, but hates to admit to, and argues [i]passionately[/i] to that end.

    Let’s not compare circumstances. I won’t talk to you about years of experience or establishing the trade; don’t talk to me about orders of magnitude or what scale can do to a community. The job changes in purpose and meaning between communities. That’s why the job is so fucking hard to nail down, as a standard. For all business could care, it’s just a cost-center. For those that do it, the nuance is bottomless. That being said, there are few metrics in the field that provide any substantial data, so each CM might as well be flying blind in the face of their community, if you want to objectively look at “what it means” or “how tough it is”.

    You’ll have to pardon me, if I don’t buy into the conventional wisdom that a small percentage of players participate on the forums. If that notion does hold true now, I don’t think it will in the near future. From what I’ve seen, that piece of conventional wisdom can’t be substantiated.

    As you’ve said before, the forums are an inefficient method of communication. Beyond that, it is also inefficient at meeting the expectations put on it. Conventional wisdom would define it as a leverage point for game changes; The “whining makes things happen”-mentality. The drive-thru service expectation. The daily challenge, for a CM, is to peel away peoples pre-conceived notions, so that you can actually talk about what you’re supposed to talk about on a gaming message board.

    A conventional CM’s power is couched in two things: The retention of information and the arbitration of posting privileges. Let’s put aside meeting people at conventions or other such interaction, because really, it’s fluff. Happy consequence. Perk. What have you. The main point is being visible on a regular basis to your player base, which means showing up on forums.

    The forums are providing a re-socializing environment for people. They are learning and teaching new rules of interaction and behavior, over these past decades. Why is it more acceptable for me to call you a cocksucker, here, rather than to your face? Sorry, but I don’t think positive reinforcement is going to cover that gap of ethics, necessary for a proper environment of consequence. My opinion. At the same time, banning people merely elevates your status as a facist. It is an ongoing process which has had shittier iterations over time. Be nice, be cruel; depending on how you judge a poster. Because, really, that’s what it comes down to. You make an arbitrary decision about whether this person helps or hurts your game. That’s the fucking job, in a sentence.

    The mark of a “good” community has been that it is rather unconcerned, but knowledgeable, with the processes that define it. It care’s about seeing a great game made, rather than [i]making[/i] a great game. It can understand it has to neutralize it’s passion for the practical. It can be comfortable being a passenger on someone else’s trip, not having to keep reaching for the wheel.

    Modern business demand and expectation greatly exceed this subtle notion.

    They propogate themselves with their demand. As a CM, you inherently set yourself in opposition, so you inevitably fail, against the masses or conventional wisdom. You can’t always say, “Yes, thank you.” Sometimes, you have to say, “No, because…” You take your moments, and hope you’ll be remembered for them. However, history has quite an affinity for surprise buttsecks. By that, I mean revisionism. Perhaps wiki vandalism, heh.

    Yes, the other parts were great. They overwhelmed, to the point that I told myself I had the best job ever. And I wasn’t lying. It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times. But, again, it is fluff and does not deal with the [i]ichi giri[/i] or the [i]reason d’etre[/i].

    Ultimately, it was the scale of the thing which got to me. There is no way someone can deal with such a mass mind on an individual level. That’s where all the customer service guidelines meant feck all, in the unmitigated quantity of it. If you tried to address singular points, they would become colluded with other issues. You never dealt with specifics; everything always has significance to something else. A completely subjective environment, where you actually had to face down an unstoppable mob of thousands, with politeness, courtesy, et [i]cetera[/i]…all the accoutrements of professionalism, without the fucking queue system. Asimov’s Zeroeth Law takes more meaning in these places, when the world becomes far more abstract, through numbers.

    Talk of professionalism all you like. The trite term has as much meaning to me as “thinking outside the box” or “ you just need to be creative about it”. Most people seemed to play into, but not understand, the unspoken contract between customer and business is one of subservience, on both ends. An endless game of obsequious ping-pong. The yuppies changed that, where a business contract now means a continuation of endentured servitude. The issuance of demands is what defines the conversation. Or, more to the point, “it isn’t conversation, it’s negotiation.”

    “Fuck you, pay me.”, shall be the whole of the law.

    Congratulations, the term “professionalism” now means “eating shit with a smile”, because no one bothers to hold up their end of sincere, business negotiation. Don’t fucking kid yourself, consumerism is now a profession and it should carry the same accountability of professionalism; there’s just no oversight committee. If people want to act like anarchists, then they should have the personal, fucking responsibility of an individual that governs themselves, and considers those outside themselves in that governance. Perhaps it’s simple psychology which makes them behave like sheeple, in which case, the CM’s job comes down to redefining conventional wisdom.

    Redefining conventional wisdom is…not that hard?

    The reason why drug deals end up going bad is because people aren’t fucking cool. In an unregulated, black market, ad hoc negotiation, people end up offering more respect than they would in a clean-cut, above the board, business negotiation. Why? Because people have responded more efficiently to exchanges that have a clear, personal outcome and consequence, with no oversight. When you add an arbitrator, every law becomes subject to scrutiny, and we can revel in the customer always being right as our platitude. We can even make sideways, ad-hominem attacks while we try to retain the moral high-ground. The real world shows us that unreasonable expectations or demands can get you killed. Folks in an MMO could give a flying crap, because there is little to no consequence and they don’t have to care about the bottom line, even for themselves and what they get out of it. What does that speak of human behavior and why should a person be “paid to deal with it”? I should care, because you have an over-inflated sense of entitlement?

    The job is all fucking psychology. Semantics. Linguistics. Diplomacy. There is no fact on the internet, merely people’s interpretation of fact. You manipulate public opinion and attention. Bottom fucking line. If you can continue to address that point comfortably for the rest of your natural-born life, more power to you. You’ve got the makings of a good CM.

    Let’s just not talk about who can “hack it”, because what is being hacked is social engineering in some of it’s finest form. And, yeah, it is having the shit hacked out of it. That is the standard methodology of exploitation: “If I don’t do it, someone else will.”

    Stop thinking that the position of a CM should be defined by, “well…someone has to take the shit.” That has got to be the most worthless sentiment of our materialistic society; that someone should be employed to listen to the fact that you can’t think for yourself, or that you aren’t being “all that you can be” because some invisible hand is holding you back. There is no fucking sincerity in that, so you can toss that term out as meaningless, also. Business interests become more abstract as you add more and more people to the mix. A populace can and will spin their shit better than a CM can. They simply have more people working on their “truths”, with more man-hours than you can keep up with.

    Sincerity, while morally respectable from a detached individual’s perspective, carries little coin in the realm. Honesty incurs great offense for a large population, because not everyone agrees with the pronounced “truth”. Not to mention the fact that you may violate security issues with your “honesty”.

    If you’re going to make a primer for people who have no fucking experience in the business of community management, don’t try to sell it on a moral high-ground. Sell it on the fact that it’s a grey area and it is what you make of it. In that, there is great freedom. Make “risk vs. reward” your middle name.

    Wait…DEVO said it better…

    So ,yeah. I think you’re wrong. Please disprove my opinion. :p

    P.S. – it feels great to say “fuck”. Hope I didn’t pepper my speech with too much of it, but I’m feeling a little free, right now. So, fuck you.

  43. Knurd said,

    May 23, 2007 at 5:05 am

    “The job is so much bigger than message boards. Why ruin your day over such a small aspect of your work?”
    If your true intent is community, then the boards [i]are[/i] the biggest part of your work. When your boards run like a hundred tap-water faucets, you want to feel like you listen to everybody. And, to be sure, they [i]expect[/i] you to be caring as much as they do. You want to make sure your care cup is full, at all times. You’re bailing water from the “sinking ship” that is your work and passion. The game that everyone loves playing, but hates to admit to, and argues [i]passionately[/i] to that end.

    Let’s not compare circumstances. I won’t talk to you about years of experience or establishing the trade; don’t talk to me about orders of magnitude or what scale can do to a community. The job changes in purpose and meaning between communities. That’s why the job is so fucking hard to nail down, as a standard. For all business could care, it’s just a cost-center. For those that do it, the nuance is bottomless. That being said, there are few metrics in the field that provide any substantial data, so each CM might as well be flying blind in the face of their community, if you want to objectively look at “what it means” or “how tough it is”.

    You’ll have to pardon me, if I don’t buy into the conventional wisdom that a small percentage of players participate on the forums. If that notion does hold true now, I don’t think it will in the near future. From what I’ve seen, that piece of conventional wisdom can’t be substantiated.

    As you’ve said before, the forums are an inefficient method of communication. Beyond that, it is also inefficient at meeting the expectations put on it. Conventional wisdom would define it as a leverage point for game changes; The “whining makes things happen”-mentality. The drive-thru service expectation. The daily challenge, for a CM, is to peel away peoples pre-conceived notions, so that you can actually talk about what you’re supposed to talk about on a gaming message board.

    A conventional CM’s power is couched in two things: The retention of information and the arbitration of posting privileges. Let’s put aside meeting people at conventions or other such interaction, because really, it’s fluff. Happy consequence. Perk. What have you. The main point is being visible on a regular basis to your player base, which means showing up on forums.

    The forums are providing a re-socializing environment for people. They are learning and teaching new rules of interaction and behavior, over these past decades. Why is it more acceptable for me to call you a cocksucker, here, rather than to your face? Sorry, but I don’t think positive reinforcement is going to cover that gap of ethics, necessary for a proper environment of consequence. My opinion. At the same time, banning people merely elevates your status as a fascist. It is an ongoing process which has had shittier iterations over time. Be nice, be cruel; depending on how you judge a poster. Because, really, that’s what it comes down to. You make an arbitrary decision about whether this person helps or hurts your game. That’s the fucking job, in a sentence.

    The mark of a “good” community has been that it is rather unconcerned, but knowledgeable, with the processes that define it. It care’s about seeing a great game made, rather than [i]making[/i] a great game. It can understand it has to neutralize it’s passion for the practical. It can be comfortable being a passenger on someone else’s trip, not having to keep reaching for the wheel.

    Modern business demand and expectation greatly exceed this subtle notion.

    They propogate themselves with their demand. As a CM, you inherently set yourself in opposition, so you inevitably fail, against the masses or conventional wisdom. You can’t always say, “Yes, thank you.” Sometimes, you have to say, “No, because…” You take your moments, and hope you’ll be remembered for them. However, history has quite an affinity for surprise buttsecks. By that, I mean revisionism. Perhaps wiki vandalism, heh.

    Yes, the other parts were great. They overwhelmed, to the point that I told myself I had the best job ever. And I wasn’t lying. It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times. But, again, it is fluff and does not deal with the [i]ichi giri[/i] or the [i]reason d’etre[/i].

    Ultimately, it was the scale of the thing which got to me. There is no way someone can deal with such a mass mind on an individual level. That’s where all the customer service guidelines meant feck all, in the unmitigated quantity of it. If you tried to address singular points, they would become colluded with other issues. You never dealt with specifics; everything always has significance to something else. A completely subjective environment, where you actually had to face down an unstoppable mob of thousands, with politeness, courtesy, et [i]cetera[/i]…all the accoutrements of professionalism, without the fucking queue system. Asimov’s Zeroeth Law takes more meaning in these places, when the world becomes far more abstract, through numbers.

    Talk of professionalism all you like. The trite term has as much meaning to me as “thinking outside the box” or “ you just need to be creative about it”. Most people seemed to play into, but not understand, the unspoken contract between customer and business is one of subservience, on both ends. An endless game of obsequious ping-pong. The yuppies changed that, where a business contract now means a continuation of endentured servitude. The issuance of demands is what defines the conversation. Or, more to the point, “it isn’t conversation, it’s negotiation.”

    “Fuck you, pay me.”, shall be the whole of the law.

    Congratulations, the term “professionalism” now means “eating shit with a smile”, because no one bothers to hold up their end of sincere, business negotiation. Don’t fucking kid yourself, consumerism is now a profession and it should carry the same accountability of professionalism; there’s just no oversight committee. If people want to act like anarchists, then they should have the personal, fucking responsibility of an individual that governs themselves, and considers those outside themselves in that governance. Perhaps it’s simple psychology which makes them behave like sheeple, in which case, the CM’s job comes down to redefining conventional wisdom.

  44. Knurd said,

    May 23, 2007 at 5:05 am

    Redefining conventional wisdom is…not that hard?

    The reason why drug deals end up going bad is because people aren’t fucking cool. In an unregulated, black market, ad hoc negotiation, people end up offering more respect than they would in a clean-cut, above the board, business negotiation. Why? Because people have responded more efficiently to exchanges that have a clear, personal outcome and consequence, with no oversight. When you add an arbitrator, every law becomes subject to scrutiny, and we can revel in the customer always being right as our platitude. We can even make sideways, ad-hominem attacks while we try to retain the moral high-ground. The real world shows us that unreasonable expectations or demands can get you killed. Folks in an MMO could give a flying crap, because there is little to no consequence and they don’t have to care about the bottom line, even for themselves and what they get out of it. What does that speak of human behavior and why should a person be “paid to deal with it”? I should care, because you have an over-inflated sense of entitlement?

    The job is all fucking psychology. Semantics. Linguistics. Diplomacy. There is no fact on the internet, merely people’s interpretation of fact. You manipulate public opinion and attention. Bottom fucking line. If you can continue to address that point comfortably for the rest of your natural-born life, more power to you. You’ve got the makings of a good CM.

    Let’s just not talk about who can “hack it”, because what is being hacked is social engineering in some of it’s finest form. And, yeah, it is having the shit hacked out of it. That is the standard methodology of exploitation: “If I don’t do it, someone else will.”

    Stop thinking that the position of a CM should be defined by, “well…someone has to take the shit.” That has got to be the most worthless sentiment of our materialistic society; that someone should be employed to listen to the fact that you can’t think for yourself, or that you aren’t being “all that you can be” because some invisible hand is holding you back. There is no fucking sincerity in that, so you can toss that term out as meaningless, also. Business interests become more abstract as you add more and more people to the mix. A populace can and will spin their shit better than a CM can. They simply have more people working on their “truths”, with more man-hours than you can keep up with.

    Sincerity, while morally respectable from a detached individual’s perspective, carries little coin in the realm. Honesty incurs great offense for a large population, because not everyone agrees with the pronounced “truth”. Not to mention the fact that you may violate security issues with your “honesty”.

    If you’re going to make a primer for people who have no fucking experience in the business of community management, don’t try to sell it on a moral high-ground. Sell it on the fact that it’s a grey area and it is what you make of it. In that, there is great freedom. Make “risk vs. reward” your middle name.

    Wait…DEVO said it better…

    So ,yeah. I think you’re wrong. Please disprove my opinion. :p

    P.S. – it feels great to say “fuck”. Hope I didn’t pepper my speech with too much of it, but I’m feeling a little free, right now. So, fuck you.

  45. Knurd said,

    May 23, 2007 at 5:13 am

    Can you dig my fucked up tags? They accentuate my speech.

  46. Beno said,

    May 23, 2007 at 5:37 am

    I don’t know how you can stand all the wankers who pull up a chair to tell you why your opinion is wrong, but welcome back to the moshpit.

  47. ghiest said,

    May 23, 2007 at 6:39 am

    I don’t know how you can stand all the wankers who pull up a chair to tell you why your opinion is wrong, but welcome back to the moshpit.

    So true, but welcome back to the blogosphere. I remember reading tweety’s rants before blogs were considered common practice 🙂

  48. Tisirin said,

    May 23, 2007 at 7:44 am

    Well, this ought to be interesting, to say the least. 🙂

  49. pabloex said,

    May 23, 2007 at 8:04 am

    Had MMOGs existed 20 years ago I think that the passion you have for community management would have been very well rewarded not just from the aspect of being true to your own self committed goals but also from the business and community perspectives. The environment today, at least in the US, is one where not just community management but customer service in general are easily rivaling other jobs that provide essential service but are often maligned (Teachers, Nurses, etc.).

    Never before has there been such a high percentage of the population that need instant gratification and that have such a strong feeling of entitlement. For every cent they spend they expect someone to run behind them and wipe their ass. They take not a moment to consider economics to determine which of their long list of demands may truly be reasonable and which may not. They are offended by having to wait because they should always be answered first and give no regard to any other community members. We have moved from town hall meetings to drive through windows where everything has to be about the individual and as such the concept of community has been lost on many of those that comprise that which we call community.

    And it gets no better on the other side of the coin. Customer Service as a whole, which encompasses Comm. Mgmt in the MMOG arena, has a variable value to the company. The newer the product and the smaller the company, the more important the service aspect will be. In time, however, when the financial growth trends are more gradual or subject to periods of decline, Customer Service is viewed as nothing more than overhead. Retention is no longer good enough. It no longer matters that you have exceeded your ROI by multiples of 10s. What matters is trying to increase the bottom line by spending the least amount possible and if that means pressing on ‘overhead’, like Customer Service, then so be it. Companies do not care about community anymore, that aspect of business in the US was lost somewhere in the late 80s – early 90s.

    So in talking about passion for the Comm Mgr role I think it is important to point out and to understand that with today’s business paradigm, your opportunities to be at the pinnacle of success will be brief. Being there at the start and building something for a new game, new community is where your value is truly felt. Once established, however, the only thing you have to look forward to frustration.

    If everything truly does work in cycles then I look forward to the day when we move beyond where we find ourselves now. It was a far better life when you could “Reach out and Touch Someone” or “Teach the World to Sing”.

  50. Numtini said,

    May 23, 2007 at 8:06 am

    Welcome Back!

  51. Bob Mime said,

    May 23, 2007 at 8:16 am

    Nice to see a familar voice return, welcome back.

  52. Jason Ballew said,

    May 23, 2007 at 8:34 am

    Welcome back, Tweety. And I agree with what you wrote, with the key word being ‘professional’.

    Still hoping Blizz calls me for an interview, although I’m not holding my breath.

  53. May 23, 2007 at 9:16 am

    […] reminded of my fanatic MMORPG days as a little squee of delight escaped my lips when I discovered Tweety is posting again. It’s been ages since I’ve played EverQuest, Dark Age of Camelot, or World of Warcraft […]

  54. Jonathan Hanna said,

    May 23, 2007 at 10:06 am

    Right on. 75% of doing community relations is keeping your cool and practicing common sense. It’s the hardest thing to look for when interviewing someone for an OCR job. I can train someone on the forums, on updating the website, on OCR practices, etc. But I can’t train common sense.

    Most of the time an OCR rep explodes on the forums it has nothing to do with burn out and much more to do with that person simply not being wired to do the job in the first place. And when it happens, there is never an excuse for it. Ever.

    Never post when you are angry and never let ’em see you sweat. Sticking to that will keep you out of trouble the majority of the time.

  55. JR Sutich said,

    May 23, 2007 at 10:15 am

    I want to bear your children. I was wondering how long you were going to be able to sit on your hands after you left us alone in this wilderness. I look forward to seeing more. Please to be for giving Scott some coloring tips, broken toys can still be pretty.

  56. Scott said,

    May 23, 2007 at 10:29 am

    The hell… she picks a green theme from a menu and all of a sudden she needs to give me web design tips? You people are too easy.

  57. Jason Ballew said,

    May 23, 2007 at 10:44 am

    So why didn’t you pick the green theme from the menu first, Scott? 😉

  58. May 23, 2007 at 11:24 am

    […] only does she live, she still whoops the ass. I realize that at some game companies, “community” consists entirely […]

  59. May 23, 2007 at 11:25 am

    […] to the recent outburst from Tseric, Sanya Weathers, most recently and formerly of EA Mythic, dishes it out like it is. It gives good perspective on what being a community person is all about. Interesting read, if only […]

  60. Michael said,

    May 23, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    Very nice!

    Now keep posting! You’re going to get pimpage from the soapboxes I have access to. 😉

  61. Circle said,

    May 23, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    Great read that made some interesting points. Welcome back!

  62. Kiom said,

    May 23, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    Yay great post.

    Cheers from France (lets hope some of our CM read this one)

  63. Ethic said,

    May 23, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    Welcome back! I look forward to more.

  64. Blackblade said,

    May 23, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    Welcome back, Tweety! You were missed! 🙂

    And Knurd: Interesting posts… Sorry, but I gotta ask.. Tseric? 🙂

  65. Heartless_ said,

    May 23, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    I am simply lost for words. Maybe I should thank you for letting my first online guild infiltrate the PvP server beta for DAoC, but that would be… something… ermm… something…. I assure you.

    Anyways, look forward to reading your posts.

  66. Chris Ainsworth said,

    May 23, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    Knurd said: You’ll have to pardon me, if I don’t buy into the conventional wisdom that a small percentage of players participate on the forums. If that notion does hold true now, I don’t think it will in the near future. From what I’ve seen, that piece of conventional wisdom can’t be substantiated.

    It can be very easily substantiated. Compare forum traffic & registrations to actual players of your game. Tie your forum accounts in with your game accounts and you can derive even more exacting numbers.

    Although yeah, I agree that your forum members do have to be treated well and kept informed. They can be the loudest, and others are listening.

  67. Bob the Barman said,

    May 23, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    So what you are really saying, is CM as a role is like being an apprentice barman? It’s not something that everyone is cut out to be (to say the least), but if it suits you, there is little better that life can offer you.

    Your customers have to want to drink with you. They are your entertainment when they walk through your door, you actually look forward to them coming through your door. They are people that can quickly become your firmest friends and warmest community. You look after them and your product is always presented at its very best, fit to drink, fit to eat, and nourishing to their very soul. Because it is what they deserve, and rightly expect.

    That community needs your moral and physical support too.

    When the smack dealer and his buddies try and elbow their way in to take over your premises, you have to support your ‘community’ by forcing them out, and permanently keep them out of your premises. If that involves cracking a few skulls along the way, then so be it.

    It can be a hard World out there, in many ways getting harder, and walking through your door should grant entry to an Oasis that people need, an Oasis that people feel privileged to be a part of.

    They take their leave of you refreshed, fit, and once more able to sustain another round of lifes ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’.

    If you walk into my bar, and think your ‘anonimity’ is going to protect you from my wrath if you behave like the prick you are to my clientel . . .

    then you are in for a very rude awakening.

    There is no excuse for not providing your clientel with the support they are entitled to and need.

    Renage on that support, and you lose your clientel, and your bar gets to be the personal possession of a handful of jerks.

    Internet or no internet, if you don’t do the right thing when you need to do the right thing, you WILL get bitten on the ass.

    Go work in a Bar if you want to learn about people.

    The one thing they ain’t, is ‘Sheeple’ (if you think that’s what they are, you are the sheep).

    Welcome back Tweet.

  68. Skeetarian said,

    May 23, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    As one of your former community members, I can say for certain that without your being our CM…I never would have come back after the ToA debacle.

    I have pointed out since your departure, that we felt we ‘knew’ you…at least as much as we could get to know what was essentially a ‘virtual’ you and that those that follow you at Mythic or any other MMO had best learn to give us something to feel that same connection.

    For all I know, you may hate slushies IRL due to some childhood accident down at the local 7-11 one Saturday afternoon. But, that personalized you for those of us that cared to get to ‘know’ you and considered you our virtual champion of the community, doing battle for US against THEM…All the while knowing you were part of THEM.

    You mastered the art of walking the fence that will always be there, between the community and the ‘team’.

    Thank you.

  69. bms said,

    May 23, 2007 at 6:53 pm

    Thanks for all you did san we miss you.

  70. Tovin said,

    May 23, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    “If you genuinely care about your customers, both developer and player, you will make the right decisions, none of which involve going postal in public.”

    However it *does* involve drawing profusely weird things at Macaroni Grill while hosting some pretty insane people! *dances*

    Your professionalism was never questioned by anyone who truly paid attention to the business side of things!

    I hope your new projects bring you much joy and true happiness. You’re much missed.

    T

  71. Muse said,

    May 23, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    Sanya! OMG!

    We miss you! Mythic sucks without you. All hell is breaking loose over there today and I can’t help but thinking that you would have handeled the herald sooooooooo much better.

  72. Bru said,

    May 23, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    Sometimes in life you are asked to accept a goal, that at the time might seem difficult but attainable, then as time passes you understand the true meaning of why, and what, exactly you have undertaken. Its when that progression presents itself that you stop, look around and trully grasp who you are and what your willing to do.

    Now is that time, you have a respected voice, you can change the way the “community” will move into the next phase.

    The phases you helped with were, to date: mmorg structure, sim financial structure, expeirence/skill progression structure.

    This form of “gaming” in US or sociality in other countries is just on the beggining stages of a revolution to world dynamics.

    KEYS: someone holds the keys, don’t ever be influenenced by the keyholders!
    Do your best to educate, employ, and empathise.- me

    Much Love and Prayers, Bru

  73. alf said,

    May 23, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    Sanya, you’re the reason i play DAOC !!!! (And gave me a reason to last till Grab Bag Day.. lol)

  74. Jobrill said,

    May 23, 2007 at 9:58 pm

    Welcome back to the commentary side of things, Tweety, it’s awesome to see you doing this again.

  75. jesse said,

    May 24, 2007 at 3:30 am

    i luv u

  76. bibard said,

    May 24, 2007 at 4:16 am

    Geat work hun always admired it..and good to see you around again..

  77. Kemor said,

    May 24, 2007 at 6:07 am

    Comparaison to bar tender is quite good I think.

    Some stuff I learned during my CM time is that not all players are equal. Can be shocking since they all pay the money but at the end of the day, some are more important than others. I guess it’s the C in community…

    JohnDoe (even with 4 accounts) who plays more or less alone, doesn’t get involved much in the community but does his stuff is, I believe less important than Mr RaidLeader, Mr Imfriendwitheveryone or Mr Imthecrafter. Some people, because of the way they play, the way they chat or interact, are links for hundreds and hundreds of people. Cut them off and shitload of players are going to feel a void, something missing in their daily game sessions. If you remove JohnDoe, couple of guys are gonna talk about it and that’s it.

    Knowing and caring about these “links” was part of my job. Doesn’t mean you take everything they say for gold but it does mean understanding that they are pillars of what people call a community and on long term, that means retention.

    Bit like in a bar really. You got the average guys coming to get a drink but not really creating a vibe in your place. Then you got the voices, the people talking a bit louder, or with a social touch you can’t really explain but you know that these guys are important to all the average guys because they create the “ambiance” everyone like in your place. People will come back to your gigs because of these guys.

    I also learned that in order to do that, to care properly as a CM and ultimately do your job, you need some freedom. Some companies can offer that, some cannot…

  78. Khatie said,

    May 24, 2007 at 6:43 am

    zomg JR you said you wanted ME to bear your children… /sob!

    Tis – when have you ever said the least? 😛

    Keep going, Sanya. With six you get t-shirt! 🙂

  79. Dungeoneer said,

    May 24, 2007 at 7:43 am

    Whew, good to have you back .

  80. Gas Bandit said,

    May 24, 2007 at 8:33 am

    Welcome back to the ranting side, Tweets.

  81. May 24, 2007 at 8:34 am

    Sanya, where do I send slushies? I miss you terribly.

  82. Taemojitsu said,

    May 24, 2007 at 9:16 am

    Nice essay, Sanya, but you completely miss the point. Tseric did not “blow his top” because he was frustrated with the community’s treatment of him. It is very much more likely that he did it because he already knew he was being let go, and he saw the trolling in that thread as the opportunity to say what he had always felt about a certain minority of the posters on the WoW boards. His issue with them was not, as I said, how they treated him; it was how they treated other customers. Insults against oneself really can be ignored if you have the strength to do it, but trolling and insulting against more vulnerable targets cannot and should not be ignored.

    As for why he got fired, if that’s really what happened..? My best guess is that it wasn’t because of his typical sarcastic treatment of the bottom layer of the forums (and even then, a sarcastic comment is a much more palatable alternative to being banned from the forums… there were posters who actually TRIED to “earn” a verbal smackdown from Tseric with their trolling efforts). It was because of his handling of the Shaman meltdown. No matter what the specifics of what he said, no matter that he tried to address their concerns in a way that no other CM tried doing, or was direct to the point of rudeness when responding to trolls against his person, or even that he provided factual information about the perceived state of the class direct from the mouths of the devs… the bottom line is that his words were the immediate reason for a large number of shaman cancelling their subscriptions. As an employee of Blizzard and indirectly of Vivendi, it is very possible that this collection of events is what led to his termination, either as an attempt to appease the masses of shaman and entice them into resubscribing/not quitting, or just as a general managerial decision based on lack of perspective.

    That he had already been fired really is the only explanation imo for his actions that Sunday morning. Note that his comments in that thread were the sole reason for the explosion of threads speculating that Tseric had already quit or was fired; it’s just not the kind of thing that you say when you expect to continue in your job. He knew that. WE knew that. Consistent with his unclear references to “being gone” and “first and only time someone in his position would take that position”, there was only one logical explanation…

    It isn’t very widely known, but his “godwin’d the thread” post was NOT his final post on the WoW forums. About half an hour after that post, after everyone had begun speculating as to his departure from his official position, he replied to a thread pleading for him not to quit his job because of the trolls using the argument that they only made up a small and universally reviled part of the community and others (including the OP) loved him as a CM and wanted him to stay. Tseric’s response, the first reply to the thread, consisted solely to a Youtube link to some weird music clip of some band. The thread was almost immediately moved to the offtopic forums, allowing it to sink off the front page of the General forum and away from all the speculation going on there, and despite the thread reaching several pages in length in the off-topic forum, Tseric made no further reply.

    Very much consistent with a final going-away post acknowledging that he knew the community wasn’t all that bad. (Keep in mind that he explicitly laid out how he liked the community in one of the shammy threads criticizing, well, basically criticizing that they hadn’t gotten any buffs yet.) This thread was also deleted when Nethaera came to work Monday morning.

    So, there it is. I kind of got away from myself with the details, and say I’m a [Tinfoil Hat] wearer all you like, but I think that the reason for Tseric’s final rant, his attitude towards his audience in that case, and even the meaning of his words, are significantly different from what your post here implies you think they were.

  83. Phaltran said,

    May 24, 2007 at 10:37 am

    Greetings, Tweety. I played DAoC beta and for a short while after retail release. I wish I had enjoyed the game enough to stay around and get involved in the community. It sounds like I missed one of the best communities of all the MMOs so far.

    I completely agree with your comments and sentiments. Having been a guild leader and small forum moderator I knew a tiny fraction of these troubles and had difficulty dealing with them. I don’t read the WoW forums specifically because I greatly dislike seeing the assholes heap abuse upon the moderators and other Blizzard staff.

    I completely understand caring for you customer, but what do you do if you care too much? I honestly think this is what happened to Cynthe and Calandryall (Hi, folks. Amy say “Hello” to Paul for me. [Darius of Baja]). They cared a great deal about we UO players and especially those of us active in the forums, player lunches and the World Faire. I think they cared so much they wanted to provide us with all the information they knew, but they were held back by the producers in case something didn’t develop as planned. I mostly blame EA for completely ruining UO (and likely DAoC soon) and for applying “business models” where personal communication should have reigned.

    So how do you get a mindset of “I know I can share this, and that’s okay, but I cannot share this and that’s okay, too” if in your thoughts you’re really thinking “these players are great and deserve to know everything?”

    I’ll keep checking back to learn more from you, and if you do land somewhere as a CM, I’ll give that game a try just to check out the community. Have you looked at Tabula Rasa?

  84. Ingafgrinn Macabre said,

    May 24, 2007 at 11:19 am

    Hello Sanya
    and Hello Requiel and Kemor!
    Nice to see European (ex)CSR’s comment here 🙂

    Anyway, although I have not worked at a customer service department, nor would I want to, because I’m by far not patient enough, I do recognise a lot of the story.
    Having led a fair few big raids of 150+ people (MasterLevel raids for those here who played DAoC), which is hard enough, I can imagine being the spokesperson for 1000’s of people is even harder. People whine, people shout, and people don’t do what you ask them to do, but those people are usually only a very small minority, with sadly a very loud voice. The majority of the people do listen, and do actively participate, but are just a lot less vocal.
    In the end it’s all worth it though when the ones liking the raid send you a PM with “Thanks for the raid, I’m off to go see the arbiter!”, or when you or someone else makes a sharp reply to one of the whiners which is followed by 100 lines of Roflol… :p

    I’ve quit playing DAoC now, because, well, after 4 years of playing, the game just becomes a bit more boring. That combined with the time necessary for work and school and stuff…

    Good luck with your work, and with your blog! I know I’ll try and visit regularly! I’ve got the url bookmarked so I’ll see you later 😛

  85. Xanthippe said,

    May 24, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    Welcome back! Nice post. As a customer, I wish all MMOs had CMs with your attitude and professionalism – and treated Community Management as a vital part of the business.

  86. Adamantyr said,

    May 24, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    Hi Sanya,

    An excellent blog, I look forward to reading more!

    I’m just curious, were you a CM in Ultima Online as well? I was a beta tester, Counselor and later part of the Seers. One of the first dozen or so, in fact. So many handles, so few real names, I don’t remember if I we ever conversed or not.

  87. Winterborne_DAoC said,

    May 24, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    Well spoken, Sanya. Well spoken indeed!

  88. May 24, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    Well spoken, Sanya. Well spoken indeed!

    (doublepost, ack)

  89. May 24, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    Excellent insight, I enjoyed reading it!

  90. Hassan said,

    May 24, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    Titling it “Hey you, Tseric!” would have been less obvious. Well said.

  91. Jurrasic said,

    May 24, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    OMG! The Nutless Assmuncher is back!

    Being a fan since Lum first linked the rant so many years ago, i’m glad to see you back in the now-blogosphere (when did the term rant-site die?) and will be watching with interest!

  92. Sedina said,

    May 24, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    Tweety – let me join the legoins of folks welcoming you back. Just the other day I hit up archive.org to enjoy some of your more colorful rants.

    Having recently quit WoW and (she said with no small amount of self-satisfied smugness) MMOs in general, I can honestly say the community is a piece of what drove me to hit the Cancel Account button. I’ve tried ’em all, and I’ve quit ’em all. Call me a foul-tempered old huss, but maybe I just don’t like people.

    Then again, I hear we’re all just broken toys anyway.

    Glad to have you back.

  93. Brat said,

    May 25, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    “Scott said,
    May 23, 2007 at 10:29 am

    The hell… she picks a green theme from a menu and all of a sudden she needs to give me web design tips? You people are too easy.”

    Tanyownd! Hi Lum!

  94. Roseanne said,

    May 25, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    WOOT! Great to see you around Sanya! Miss you! And now I have a new place to visit regularly.

  95. DaveN said,

    May 25, 2007 at 11:34 pm

    Welcome back to the ‘tubes, Tweety!

    As a side note, EVE Online seems to be taking the lead in the race for Poor Community Management Poster Child ( c.f. http://www.brokentoys.org/2007/05/25/eve-blows-up-again/). Maybe they should give you a ring. On the other hand, they are in Iceland…

  96. Alex Weekes said,

    May 28, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    Really enjoyable reading, and so very very true.

  97. Kallisti aka Andrew said,

    May 29, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    Much

  98. Kallisti aka Andrew said,

    May 29, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    Opps looks like I broke the comment system! let me try again…

    Much love to Sanya, always enjoyed working with you when I was part of the TL program and was sad I caused you heartache in the manner of my departure.

    I look forward to reading more of your blog and I hope you’ll share some of the behind the scenes gossip since “The Borg” took over at you know where 😀

  99. Sharkith said,

    May 30, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    Very nice post and made an awful lot of sense. No wonder you carried so much respect when you posted on the forums. I watched a lot of your posts from a distance. It would have been nice to see you in game or on the forums we used.

    As for the comments above about eve – I disagree CCP have been very up front with their investigation. Not something that I experienced elsewhere:

    http://myeve.eve-online.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&bid=472

  100. Bremyyn said,

    May 31, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    Welcome back Tweety!

    Brem, former “Tweety’s Nest of Freaks” forum member.

  101. DAoC Player said,

    June 15, 2007 at 1:52 pm

    If it’s so easy, why did you so suck so badly at it?

  102. Sanya Weathers said,

    June 15, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    Snicker.

  103. Knurd said,

    June 18, 2007 at 4:32 am

    “If it’s so easy, why did you so suck so badly at it?”

    Walk a mile in another person’s shoes, then shut the fuck up.

    Yes, I like the flavor of flame-bait.

    Call me a connoisseur.

  104. July 17, 2007 at 2:27 am

    For rigorous teachers seized my youth, And purged its faith, and trimmed its fire, Showed me the high, white star of Truth, There bade me gaze, and there aspire. — Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), Stanzas from the Grande Chartreuse

  105. July 31, 2007 at 4:42 pm

    […] see how strongly people have reacted to Sanya Weathers returning to writing web commentary. In just two posts, she garnered more reaction and comments than most bloggers see in […]

  106. September 18, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    […] in Community Management September 18, 2008, 2:04 pm Filed under: Uncategorized Read these posts by Sanya Weathers. Old though they may be (I first read them near the start of my time working on […]


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